LEGENDS OF THE MACCABIAH BIOs
Los Angeles – 2022
Dave Blackburn (z”l)
Dave grew up in Calumet City, Illinois. Following in the footsteps of his father, “Big Ern,” Dave loved fastpitch softball and took to pitching at a young age. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1982 and moved straight to Los Angeles because the weather would allow him to play ball year-round, which he did until his life-changing car accident in 2010. Dave was in a wheelchair thereafter, but never lost his lust for life and the Maccabi movement. He made many lifelong friends around the world through his participation in 11 Maccabiah and Pan American Games and is one of the greatest pitchers in the history of both competitions. Dave was inducted into the International Softball Congress Hall of Fame in 2011. He passed away in May 2014 and is missed by so many. Zichrono Livracha – May his memory be a blessing.
Benny Feilhaber was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His paternal grandfather emigrated from Austria to Brazil in 1938 to escape the Nazi regime, and Benny spent the first six years of his life there falling in love with soccer before moving to the US. He played collegiately at UCLA (rooming with Maccabi USA and US Men’s National teammate Jonathan Bornstein) before starting his professional career overseas. He competed in the 2008 Olympics for the US under-23 team and in the 2010 World Cup for the US Men’s National Team. He played in two Pan American Maccabi Games—once each for Maccabi Brazil and Maccabi USA, and suited up for Team USA at the 2005 Maccabiah in Israel. He now coaches Sporting Kansas City II, the affiliate of MLS’s Sporting KC.
Chelsey Goldberg was born and raised in Southern California. She started playing roller hockey at a young age and eventually took her passion to the ice, where she got recruited to play at the North American Hockey Academy in Stowe, Vermont, and then Northeastern University in Boston. Along the way, she broke both legs, which hurt her chances to make the US Olympic team. Nonetheless, she was still drafted 6th overall by the Boston Blades of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and signed her first pro contract while pursuing a master’s degree at Northeastern. Chelsey helped bring women’s hockey to the Maccabiah for the first time ever in 2022, captaining the USA to a silver medal. Overcoming two broken legs in her career, she now plays for Team Adidas in the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association while fighting to build a sustainable professional womens’ hockey league.
Doug Gottlieb grew up in Orange, California. His father, Bob, was a head basketball coach for seven years at the college level and spent time as an assistant for Hall of Famers Tex Winter and Eddie Sutton. Bob passed that love on to Doug, who was a high school All-American before attending Notre Dame and Oklahoma State University (OSU). He was the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year in 1998, earned Honorable Mention All-Big 12 three times at OSU, and ended his NCAA career in the top-10 all time in assists. He played professionally in the Russian Basketball Super League and has represented Maccabi USA as a player or coach at 5 different events. Following his playing career, Doug started working in sports TV and radio, including at ESPN, CBS Sports, and presently Fox Sports, where he stars on The Doug Gottlieb Show.
Born in South Africa, Shawn Lipman moved to the US in 1986. He has played or coached for South Africa Maccabi, Maccabi USA, club, and national teams, including representing the US National Team in the 1991 Rugby World Cup—the first Jewish player ever to do so. His lengthy Maccabiah career as a player includes gold in 1985 (for South Africa), bronze in 1989, silver in 1993 (team captain), and gold in 1997 (team captain and flag bearer) in the USA’s first-ever No. 1 finish. He coached the team to gold medals in 2013 and 2017 and is the first person to win a rugby gold medal as both a player and coach. He is a member of the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and the US Rugby Hall of Fame. Shawn is a serial entrepreneur and currently the CEO of Feedonomics.
Eli Marmur was born and raised in Israel where he played for the national youth soccer team and the national premier league team, HaKoach Maccabi, winning two championships and one national cup. In 1967, Eli came to San Francisco to continue studying physical therapy and later helped the local Jewish soccer team climb to the first division in the North American Soccer League. Eli moved to Los Angeles in 1970 to attend USC, where he completed his master’s degree in Physical Therapy, and played 11 years for Maccabi Los Angeles Soccer Club, winning multiple local and national championships. In 1973, he captained the Maccabi USA soccer team at the Maccabiah. After retirement, Eli founded a Maccabi youth league that convened thousands of kids to play soccer, basketball, baseball, and other sports, which formed the foundation for what became the JCC Maccabi Games. He was inducted into the Maccabi World Union Hall of Fame in 2009 and is known in LA as “Mr. Maccabi.”
Andi Murez comes from a family of swimmers, including her older brother, Zak, her father Jim, and her grandfathers, Joe Murez and Raymond Federman. Andi was a member of Stanford University’s swim team while earning a degree in Human Biology. She swam for Maccabi USA in the 2009 and 2013 Maccabiah Games in Israel, winning the female MVP of the Games award in 2013. She had such a life-changing experience that she decided to make Aliyah and compete for the Israeli National Team. In 2016, she swam in the Rio Olympics as a member of the first ever Israeli women’s relay team. The next year, she participated again in the Maccabiah, this time for Israel, and then began her medical studies at Tel Aviv University. Two years later, she took a leave of absence from school to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, helping Israel reach the finals of the 4×100 Mixed Medley relay. She then returned to her studies and will graduate from medical school in the spring of 2023, at which time she will delay applying for her Psychiatry residency to train for the 2024 Paris Olympics.